Born in Penang, David is the daughter of Ann Marie David, a retired Malaysian Chinese school teacher, and Desmond David, a Malaysian Indian engineer, who is also a former state athlete and footballer. She has two sisters, Lianne and Cheryl, both of whom are accomplished squash players at the national level. As a youngster, mathematics was David's best subject at school; she dreamed of one day becoming an engineer. Her primary education was at Sekolah Kebangsaan Convent Green Lane (Convent Green Lane Primary School). David scored seven A's for her Penilaian Menengah Rendah and obtained seven A's in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (the equivalent to GCSE), which she studied at Convent Green Lane Secondary School in Green Lane, Penang. She was raised a Roman Catholic.
Awards and recognition
On 7 June 2008, David was honoured with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti) or D.B. in conjunction with the birthday of His Majesty Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. She was the first recipient of the award which was established on 26 June 1975. The award is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in the arts, sciences and the humanities. On 12 July 2008, David was among 497 people honoured in conjunction with the 70th birthday of the Penang State Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas. David was also one of the 28 people who received the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri award (DSPN), which carries the title Datuk, making her the youngest person ever to be conferred Datukship in Penang.The former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a fellow Penangite, once quipped that David is "now more famous than me". In July 2007, David received Master of Arts honoris causa; an honorary degree by the University of Nottingham. David has also obtained the WISPA Player of the Year on six consecutive occasions, from 2005 until 2010. David was given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch for Malaysia during the build up to the Athens Olympics of 2004, and was appointed UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Malaysia.
Pre–2000: Junior years
Nicol Ann David during CIMB Malaysian Open Squash 2008 in Kuala Lumpur. David played squash when she was five years old, and received coaching at the age of eight. While training at the Bukit Dumbar Squash Centre, David was talent spotted by Ee Phoeh Hoon, who led her to represent her home state of Penang, along with her sisters. David's squash career began in 1992 when she won silver in the Under-14 category of the Penang State Junior Championship. Her first national level victory was also in 1992 at the Milo-Dunlop Sport National Junior Interstate Championship, where she won silver in the Under-16 category. In 1994, David was chosen to join the Penang state squash team for the Malaysian Games (SUKMA) tournament where she helped Penang win a gold medal in the team event, despite being ill at the time. In the same year, she won her first two international titles – the Hong Kong U-13 and the Scottish Junior Open Under-12. David won the Women's World Junior Squash Championships of 1999 in Antwerp, Belgium, making her the youngest woman to become the world junior champion at the age of 15. In the process, she defeated three players ranked in the world top 20. She successfully defended the title in Penang in 2001, becoming one of only two players in the history of squash to have won it twice; her coach was Richard Glanfield. In 1999, David began to win major junior tournaments, including the British Junior Open (Under-17 champion), the German Junior Open (Under-19, Champion), the SEA Games (Champion in the Senior and Team categories), and the Asian Junior Champion for both individual and team events. David's biggest win, however, was the World Junior Championships, played in Antwerp. It took just half an hour for the then 15-year-old Malaysian schoolgirl to obtain world junior champion status when she beat compatriot Leong...